Hi. Just when you thought it was going to be a quiet summer, and you could drop by for a little tech-talk, we get Charlottesville.
Sorry – I can’t let this pass. I sometimes rant privately and then don’t post, but not this time. If you’re not in a rant-receptive mood, no worries. See you next time.
While the events in Charlottesville were a problem, the reaction to those events is even more of a problem.
It’s doubtful whether the southern aristocrat Robert E. Lee could have related to those protesting the removal of his Charlottesville statue – white nationalists and racists for whom Lee’s core concept of honor is entirely absent.
In an ironic twist, at the end of his life Lee felt his military training had been a mistake, so Lee himself might have supported the statue’s removal.
As Lee himself recognized, he made serious mistakes. But he was certainly no coward.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for our President and many of our nation’s CEO’s, who failed to speak out against racist violence, electing instead to comment only on violence itself. Presumably these individuals, after responding to the Charlottesville violence with powder-puff tweets of mild indignation, hid beneath their aircraft-carrier sized office desks, worrying that someone might be angry with what little they had said. Well, everyone has their worries: CEO’s can worry that Trump might get mad at them and issue one of his many crap-tweets; Trump can worry that white racists might get mad and vote for someone even more misanthropic than he is.
No wonder people hold our leadership in contempt. For little is more contemptible than racism, and there would have been few better opportunities to pick up votes, pick up customers, pick up stock prices, and pick up morale than to have stood up, been counted, and shown a minuscule amount of backbone in this situation.
Equivocation about Charlottesville isn’t just cowardice – it’s unintelligent. It is a basic misunderstanding of history, and a basic misreading of what citizens really want. People do not want to avoid being irritated with their leaders, they want to admire them.
Lee, Grant, and Lincoln – leaders in a presumably less-enlightened age – understood that, and must now be turning over in their respective graves.
Thankfully, there are a few exceptions in the New Age of Equivocation: Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier and two other CEO’s removed themselves from Trump’s advisory circle after our Coward-in-Chief failed to condemn white racism over the weekend. Regrettably, in the vacuum these individuals have created, less upright individuals will very likely step in.
If it seems ironic that equivocation is now order of the day, in an age when our President and his cronies are well-known for rudeness and crudeness, realize that rudeness and equivocation are two sides of the same currency of cowardice. As Eric Hoffer put it: “Rudeness is the weak man’s imitation of strength.”
Let’s stop equivocating, and call equivocation about injustice – whenever and wherever it occurs – what it really is: cowardice.